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How I Earned a Horse's Ass Trophy

Part of the portfolio that I inherited as a new loan officer was a series of loans to an airplane exporter in Eagle Pass on Texas’ border with Mexico. Each ninety-day loan had financed a specific crop dusting plane and had been approved by the loan committee when it was presented to them to last no longer than six months. In other words, only one renewal. Out of eight loans in the portfolio, three had been ‘rolled over’ more than twice, meaning they were part of my predecessor’s problem – and now mine. While reviewing all of the documentation I discovered that insurance certificates on two had expired, so I called the exporter to introduce myself and asked that his insurance agent send current certificates until the loans were paid. “Uh, well... that won’t be possible,” he explained, “because one of the planes has been in Mexico for more than a year and the other one has been sold, just not delivered yet.” I was dumbfounded. “This is Monday. I want a cashier’s check here by Friday for the first one – or we’ll talk to the sheriff there about the unauthorized sale of our collateral. And the second one can’t be delivered to your buyer until we have the loan for that one paid off.” Of course, I had no idea how to initiate such actions, but it sounded like a good response, and I hung up, and put it on my follow-up list for the next week. The following Monday, though, was the bank president’s quarterly meeting with officers, and before he started the meeting he asked if Mike Atchison was in the audience. He told the hundreds of officers present that someone had delivered a package to his office on Friday, with two cashier’s checks and a horse’s ass trophy with my name on it, and that he wanted to see more such trophies for his loan officers in the future. That trophy remained in my possession for more than two decades.

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